10.23.2013 Journal Prompt

Photo by James Jowers
Photo by James Jowers

October 23, 2013: When she was younger…


One thought on “10.23.2013 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    When she was younger, Sally dressed weird. She wore clothes that were dark as night and held no shape, and sunglasses on un-sunny days, and she said her name was Esmé after someone in a story she’d read. And she smoked cigarettes she rolled herself and she drank vodka neat. And she painted pictures that were just colours and shapes and those pictures had titles like ‘When the world Calls Your Name’.

    We were all weird back then. Men wore their hair longer than the girls and the girls did not wear bras and we lay down in the parks and we were always kissing. We were in love then, with everyone and with the place where we were, and we said we didn’t have a care in the world and that life was for living. We were like kids and our thoughts were kid-thoughts and innocent. Some days I wonder where those days went and I wonder where Esmé went, too.

    Esmé, and I remember one Sunday we decided to stay in bed and we said it was a protest against something. War or the price of bread or eggs. And Then John and Yoko were doing the same, and so me and Esmé stayed where we were and out of the light of the world’s press but protesting exactly the same. I tell our kids some days and they say we were daft and we must have been high on drugs or some such. And maybe we were daft and I look at our kids and I wonder when they will do something daft.

    Sally doesn’t say a word. She just smiles and she listens to the stories I tell, stories of how things were once. And it is as if they are just that: stories, and Esmé is just a character someone wrote about once. I only have the one picture from back then, a black and white picture of Esmé in dark glasses and she is walking out of the picture and she is not looking at the camera. It could be anyone and it doesn’t look like Sally.

    No one believes it is her in the picture or that she smoked or drank vodka from the bottle or that we slept nearly two weeks in the one bed as a protest against something. I don’t always believe it myself. She was weird back then; we were all weird, and all of us in love with everyone. It doesn’t make sense in the world we are in now, I get that.

    I discovered the story Sally must have read, the one about Esmé. It was a few years back and the bright cadmium yellow cover caught my attention in the window of a second hand bookshop. I bought it and read it and then I wrapped it up in black paper and presented it as a gift to Sally. She looked at me funny and then she set the book aside. There was an inscription penned on the flyleaf of the book, fading blue ink and the letters all looped and curled. And all it said was ‘For the girl you were once’. I thought that was so right.

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